Without a doubt, the most important facet of any state is its judiciary. The administration of justice is of utmost importance as that is the foundation of all other aspects of the state and as such, the justice system should aim to be as transparent and accountable as
possible. Bearing all these factors in mind, I think it is very important that the state and all other stakeholders (police, NPA, judiciary, Department of Justice and other specialist units forming the core) in the administration of justice ensure that all citizens of the state are well informed of their rights.
It is well worth noting that the lack of information in our country severely hampers the administration of justice because not only should justice be done, but it is of great importance that justice is SEEN to be done by the people and if the people do not know their rights, how on earth will they know when to approach the judiciary and/or any of the other stakeholders. Also, people knowing their rights will provide them with the opportunity to be aware of the elite who seem to be superior to law and as such make important inferences about the judiciary of the state; the administration of justice within the state, as well as, the governance of the state.
I think a good way of tackling this is the NPA, along with the Department of Justice and other stakeholders in the administration of justice raising community awareness by conducting seminars, workshops and conducting mock trials at various public institutions such as schools and within rural communities. However the key element in this would be they must make the means to even reach those at grassroots level, as more often than
not, it is their rights which are trampled on and their voices not heard. A good way of tackling it would be by conducting proper ethnographic fieldwork in each area, so as to ascertain the language of the people and their level of education (it would after all defeat the purpose if the people didn’t understand). The workshops, oureaches, etc. would cover a variety of topics like after hour bail applications (most people don’t know that if arrested over a weekend or before a public holiday, they don’t need to spend a whole weekend in jail or wait for the next working day. Needless to say, this depends on the merits of the case, of course; the maximum or minimum sentences that can be applied for different charges; etc.
For the efficient administration of justice, I believe that it is very
important for people to know and fully understand their rights, as well as, their responsibilities. This would also assist in encouraging a more transparent judiciary, which is seen to propagate fairness and equality in the administration of justice.
Finally, it is also very important that members of the public know how to access all the stakeholders in the administration of justice and be able to know who to approach for what.
These are but a few suggestions that could greatly assist the efficient administration of justice. There’s a lot more that could and should be done, but I do think that the above mentioned are a good way to start.